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Taste of Kingston | Olivea Restaurant

Stev George and Deanna Harrington are truly not part of a statistic as their restaurant Olivea, pronounced O-li-vay-a, is the definition of an Italian eatery serving up a variety of Mediterranean style dishes with a loving relationship. From a staff of 30, who rely on this establishment as a livelihood, this place that reminds me of Little Italy back in Montreal has outdone itself for having its doors open since 2008. 

Passion for food comes out in people at different times in their lives but for Stev, it was in his family's kitchen when he was a wee lad along side his mum. Her influence and his early entrepreneurship tendencies is what may have sparked the success he and his lovely wife have had in the food industry from Casa Bella (Gananoque), Bella Bistro (Uptown Kingston) to now Olivea in downtown Kingston. Can you say perfect location? Olivea is located right next to Market Square perfect for a drink on the patio in the summer or people watching in the winter while people skate around the rink.
{Window Display}

Graduate of the Stratford Chefs School (along with Deanna), Stev's culinary experiences includes that of working at the Sooke Harbour House on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, B.C, Chez Piggy and Pan Chancho along with a few trips to Italy, Stev has acquired the skills of working harmoniously with Deanna to offer the best of the best to their clients. From behind the scenes to management, Stev states the qualities he envisions in a worthy entrepreneur are that of creativity, able to face challenges and use what you learn as a template to continue to strive. Ultimately, this person is him. It takes courage, passion and more than a love of food to open a restaurant but also not be scared of failure, as success comes from making mistakes.

The move to Kingston was for the sake of their children as balance between work and family is important to Stev and Deanna. The stars and planets aligned with the opening of Olivea and it's been five years of true success.

Olivea shows you that two people willing to give it their all and support one another are bound to flourish. 

{Local Flavours}

Olivea's menu is seasonal hence changes are expected year round as Stev is a true believer of supporting local businesses to offer the best possible quality food and taking advantage of what is readily available around him in terms of local meats, fish, vegetables and fruits. Creating a sense of partnership and connecting with others in the community is a priority for Stev. Obtaining the freshest ingredients daily allows for the menu to be diverse and forces creativity.

Simple and rustic is how Stev would describe his style of food and just how it should be in an authentic Italian restaurant! Pop in for a quick bowl of pasta or enjoy a selection of antipasti and make it a unique food experience taking an adventure and trying out smaller meal portions. You won't regret it!

Let's explore what Olivea has to offer:
{Fresh Bread}

Olivea makes their own fresh spaghetti, linguine and taglialette all in house!

{Fresh Pasta}

Have you ever seen so many colored tomatoes at once? 

{Heirloom Tomatoes} 

The Kingston Olive Oil Company is one of few businesses/organizations that Olivea supports locally. Black Mission Fig Balsamic Vinegar and Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil was served initially with bread. 

The Balsamic Vinegar was full of flavour and I quite enjoyed the richness of the fig. Not surprised that the owners of Olivea choose this, it is quite pleasant and I would have combined it with cheese. The Olive Oil on the other hand, was delicate and mild in taste.

{Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil}

The bread served was still warm to the touch and airy, just how I like it.

{Fresh Bread}

I have tasted a version of this 'stuffed rice ball' recipe before and this is by far the most well done. The cheese was gooey, the risotto held nicely together and together it was crunchy, creamy and cheesy. The tomato dipping sauce was refreshing as well.


Fried risotto croquettes stuffed with Fontina and mushrooms.


Usually when it comes to seafood, I never think of the word fried but this dish was different. The batter was light, airy and didn't overwhelm or mask the taste of what it covered. The seafood was nicely cooked and the crispness of each bite got even better with double dipping in the tartar sauce. The creamy mixture was a tad sweet with a great combination of bold flavours that paired well with the fried seafood. And who knew, apparently capers are a regular add on to this type of sauce. I learn something new everyday.

Fritti Misti Di Mare
Crisp fried scallops, wild Baja prawns, mussels and calamari with lemon caper mayo.

{Fritti Misti Di Mare}

The antipasti board was an item I knew I had to get. Normally the first course of an Italian meal, this was a must as it is always interesting to see what the owners/chefs like to pair together and serve. As for cured meats, the board offered summer sausage, chorizo and Italian prosciutto combined with Ontario artisan cheese along with olives, artichoke hearts, cloves of garlic etc. The one item that was displeasing was the Gorgonzola blue cheese. When it comes to solid form, I have a hard time pleasing my palette unless it is a cream sauce. Bizarre I know, but I am always willing to try an item of food before passing away and making a heist decision based on past experiences. Overall, the meats and cheeses fused well with one another.

Mezzo E Mezzo
A mixture of Seed to Sausage artisan cured meats and Ontario cheeses.

{Mezzo E Mezzo}

Oh the pastas at Olivea... they are simple yet delicious. Offered in portion sizes of small (4oz) and large (8oz), this gives you more variety in ordering other dishes from the menu. Simplicity is what Olivea offers as do true Italians since pasta is generally sometime served as a first course. I have had the pleasure of celebrating two birthdays here and Pasta is always my dish of choice, hopefully the tradition continues!

Seafood Linguine
Wild Baja prawns, scallops, mussels, clams and calamari in a spicy tomato sauce with olives and capers.

Olivea is known for their daily/weekly specials and are worth the try as new fresh components are always being added.

Roasted garlic and rosemary cream sauce and crispy chicken leg.

At first I was going to order my usual /favourite dessert creme brûlée but I was craving fresh fruits as earlier I was roaming about the farmers market across the street. This was the perfect way to end my lunch and day!

If you have a sweet tooth and would like to treat yourself to some Italian desserts, Olivea is the place to come to!

Creamy Panna Cotta
Vanilla pudding served with fresh seasonal berries and fig vincotto.

{Panna Cotta}

Next dish to try: Potato gnocci with beef cheek ragu and truffle oil.

Be sure to stop by 39 Brock Street for a great tasting meal and have fun people watching!

Open daily from 11h30am to 4h30pm for lunch and 5-10pm for dinner.

Look out for more Taste of Kingston posts every Friday!


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Rosalyn Gambhir
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1 comment:

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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether it's exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure within Kingston, Ontario and beyond. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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